RE: 7 Day Retreat at MAPLE (Monastic Academy)

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Brandon Dayton, modified 25 Days ago.

7 Day Retreat at MAPLE (Monastic Academy)

Posts: 451 Join Date: 9/24/19 Recent Posts
So it looks likely that I'll be going on retreat at the Monastic Academy, probably middle of April. I thought I might have to wait until June, but I just got an appointment for the J&J Vaccine for next Thursday the 25th, which means I should be able to fly directly to Vermont without quarantine in time for the retreat. I've already had an application interview where I was like, "I dunno if I'm gonna get vaccinated in time..." and they were like, "let's just plan on you coming for now." Sounds like a pretty rigorous retreat schedule akin to Goenka -- early mornings and two vegetarian meals a day. The interviewer was pretty clear that you basically have no choice but to either be concentrated or miserable. I'm excited but more than a bit intimidated. Feels like the right level of challenge at this point, and I really dig their approach to practice within community.

Looking for any thoughts, advice, recommendations (encouragment?). Any one else got experience at MAPLE? Thinking of prepping in the spirit of the legenedary "Going for Stream Entry at a 10 Day Vipassana Course" curtosy of the Hamilton Project: increasing sitting time to get the momentum going, maybe waking up early to get a feel for the suck, making that resolution for Stream Entry and then just dialing up the acceptance to 300K.

Here's the schedule:
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Niels Lyngsø, modified 25 Days ago.

RE: 7 Day Retreat at MAPLE (Monastic Academy)

Posts: 313 Join Date: 11/15/19 Recent Posts
Congratulations, Brandon! That's wonderful!

The preparation you mention sounds like a good idea. And resolutions before and diligence throughout is great. Also remember to be nice to yourself, though. It's okay – and maybe sometimes even necessary – to push oneself. But it is counterproductive to push too hard. I'm speaking from experience. I completely blew my fuses one time at a Goenka retreat. So: Be diligent, work hard, but
- Don't skip breaks to practice more.
- Rest when you need to.
- Do powerwalk or something similar if you need grounding.
- In general: Listen to the signals from your mind and body. Don't let striving sidetrack your practice.

Think of it this way: This is just one retreat. You will probably have many more. The path is long. Be patient. Definitely go for it and do your best, but at the same time, take care of your self. The middle way, you know.

And most importantly: Enjoy it! Really! Retreats are wonderful, magic. Find an attitude of childlike wonder and curiosity, of gratitude and joy. That counteracts the striving (again: from my own experience).

Looking forward to hearing how it goes! emoticon
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Brandon Dayton, modified 25 Days ago.

RE: 7 Day Retreat at MAPLE (Monastic Academy)

Posts: 451 Join Date: 9/24/19 Recent Posts
Really great advice Niels. My natural responses to potential stress have always been in the extremes. It's either "run" or "take no prisoners". "Be there" and "accept" takes a bit more balance. 
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Oatmilk, modified 25 Days ago.

RE: 7 Day Retreat at MAPLE (Monastic Academy)

Posts: 95 Join Date: 7/30/20 Recent Posts
I cannot stress that enough, put an emphasis on relaxation and fun. No need to rush this, the goal should be to be mindful all the time, so don't burn yourself out on the first few day's. 
The mind will do the rest for you as long as you allow for it, so no striving needed. 
Enjoy the experience & keep it very slowemoticon 
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David Matte, modified 25 Days ago.

RE: 7 Day Retreat at MAPLE (Monastic Academy)

Posts: 67 Join Date: 8/3/19 Recent Posts
Dear Brandon

I'm really liking your prep ideas you have already.

I'll mention 3 suggestions to you off the cuff:

Don't hold any expectations for the retreat. With even the subtlest expectation, you set yourself up for striving and disappointment. 

Try not to overeat at meals. The meals prepared on retreat can be quite tasty and different than our usual taste palate but can also be a cause for regret later you feel like taking a nap all afternoon because you overfilled your belly! Enjoy the food but a middle way in eating is key as well.

Maintain continuous mindfulness. I think you already know this and this should go without saying but still is too important to not mention again. This one moment. Try to keep keen awareness of this moment from sun rise to sunset. Be vigilant of your experience. That is the name of the game you are playing on a retreat.

Let us know how it went! Have fun!
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Sam Gentile, modified 24 Days ago.

RE: 7 Day Retreat at MAPLE (Monastic Academy)

Posts: 993 Join Date: 5/4/20 Recent Posts
Wow, Brandon a live in-person retreat! I didn't think anyone was doing those yet. Seems like you picked an intense one. Your ideas are good and you have gotten good advice from people already so I wish you success.

P.S. I just got a full scholarshipp to IMS virtual retreat Awakening: An Insight Retreat for Experienced Practioners from April 24-28th
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Brandon Dayton, modified 24 Days ago.

RE: 7 Day Retreat at MAPLE (Monastic Academy)

Posts: 451 Join Date: 9/24/19 Recent Posts
Thanks fellas. Gonna be thinking carefully about all of this.
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Papa Che Dusko, modified 24 Days ago.

RE: 7 Day Retreat at MAPLE (Monastic Academy)

Posts: 1660 Join Date: 3/1/20 Recent Posts
I would say 1-10 sensations noted, packaged and shipped within 1 second for the duration of the whole 7 days! 

emoticon emoticon LOL just kidding! 

Enjoy that 7 days vacation family man emoticon 
Btw, we are expecting a baby any day now emoticon Trying to remember how to change the diapers and all that Dad stuff emoticon It's been 5 years since I e been covered in diapers! 

Best wishes from this part of town! 
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Brandon Dayton, modified 24 Days ago.

RE: 7 Day Retreat at MAPLE (Monastic Academy)

Posts: 451 Join Date: 9/24/19 Recent Posts
Thanks man.

Have fun with that new little one. Each one is an adventure. 
George S, modified 23 Days ago.

RE: 7 Day Retreat at MAPLE (Monastic Academy)

Posts: 1500 Join Date: 2/26/19 Recent Posts
Hi Brandon,

I was watching this Ajahn Brahm talk and it made me think of your upcoming retreat:

https://youtu.be/nlB3uksRV8M

There's lots of good stuff in there about how to relax into a retreat and allow your mind to do what it wants, so that it comes to you naturally in silence instead of trying to escape into sleepiness or thinking.  emoticon

Cheers
George
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Brandon Dayton, modified 23 Days ago.

RE: 7 Day Retreat at MAPLE (Monastic Academy)

Posts: 451 Join Date: 9/24/19 Recent Posts
Ooh, thanks. That'll go in my queue.
shargrol, modified 22 Days ago.

RE: 7 Day Retreat at MAPLE (Monastic Academy)

Posts: 1529 Join Date: 2/8/16 Recent Posts
Brandon, my classic advice for retreat is here:

https://shargrolpostscompilation.blogspot.com/p/blog-page.html#fivenegativehabitsretreat
https://shargrolpostscompilation.blogspot.com/p/blog-page.html#pacing-is-everything-on-a-long-retreat

In general, make the retreat more about settling in, becoming sensitive, and noticing subtle reactive patterns and the three poisons within mindfulness. Don't go on a seek and destroy mission, but rather allow the body/mind to do it's thing and LEARN about the body/mind. Trust that the act of being aware/mindful is enough. Hold any form of ill will with kindness within awareness and understand it as the confused compassion that it is. 

Basically, when we relax and allow our body/mind to simply be itself without repression or indulgence, that's when we get good data. When we get good data, the insights naturally happen. 

People who "try hard" are usually basically trying to avoid experiencing stuff that makes them uncomfortable. They come on retreat like a backpacker with waaaay to much gear in their pack because deep down they are afraid of the unknown. They bring too much, they're overprotected with too much clothes, and they barely experience the forest and instead hide out in heavy tents. And they burn out or become exhausted or disillusioned. Instead, I'm suggesting packing lightweight, walking more miles a day by walking lighter and easier, sleeping under a tarp, and becoming intimate with your experience.

Become intimate with the experience of being on retreat, simply, as it goes.
Edward, modified 22 Days ago.

RE: 7 Day Retreat at MAPLE (Monastic Academy)

Posts: 83 Join Date: 6/10/19 Recent Posts
Lots of great advice in this thread. Just a reminder of this excellent piece by Daniel:

​​​​​​​https://www.integrateddaniel.info/mapobsession-hindrances-in-sheeps-clothing
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Brandon Dayton, modified 21 Days ago.

RE: 7 Day Retreat at MAPLE (Monastic Academy)

Posts: 451 Join Date: 9/24/19 Recent Posts
Shargol and Edward,

Thanks, that's all fantastic stuff. Honestly most anxious about the lack of sleep. If I could fit a nap in though...
shargrol, modified 21 Days ago.

RE: 7 Day Retreat at MAPLE (Monastic Academy)

Posts: 1529 Join Date: 2/8/16 Recent Posts
I think you'll find, like many meditators before you, that if you're really tired, you'll nod off duing sits -- no big deal. emoticon Those sits after eating can kinda be like lucid dreaming...

You'll also find that when you take away the drama of normal life and IF you have the right perspective to simply sit and enjoy and appreciate retreat experience, it can actually be healing and kinda restful... and sleep demands go down.

Being on continuous retreat provides all the intensity that most people need. If you can relax and soften within this continuity of experience, then the subtle poisons are seen with such clarity that insight and healing and resting can co-occur.  If this is possible for you -- I highly recommend it. I don't recommend beating your head against the wall, but, hell, I had to learn the hard way. emoticon
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Brandon Dayton, modified 19 Days ago.

RE: 7 Day Retreat at MAPLE (Monastic Academy)

Posts: 451 Join Date: 9/24/19 Recent Posts
 If you can relax and soften within this continuity of experience, then the subtle poisons are seen with such clarity that insight and healing and resting can co-occur.  If this is possible for you -- I highly recommend it.

That sounds nice. Hopefully I can find my way to that place. I guess that's the point of all this. Just got my vaccination this morning, so things are looking good.
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Pepe, modified 19 Days ago.

RE: 7 Day Retreat at MAPLE (Monastic Academy)

Posts: 327 Join Date: 9/26/18 Recent Posts
Hey Brandon, looking forward to hearing how it goes! Much Metta!!
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Brandon Dayton, modified 18 Days ago.

RE: 7 Day Retreat at MAPLE (Monastic Academy)

Posts: 451 Join Date: 9/24/19 Recent Posts
Thanks Pep!

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Papa Che Dusko, modified 18 Days ago.

RE: 7 Day Retreat at MAPLE (Monastic Academy)

Posts: 1660 Join Date: 3/1/20 Recent Posts
If it gets tough and rough think of all the people who practiced Dhamma in the past and are practicing Dhamma right now with you and those who will practice Dhamma long after we are gone emoticon 

Imagine all those people longing for same thing as you; happiness and peace emoticon and we all skydive into this mind to find out how. And we all get the taste of pleasant, taste of unpleasant, taste of neutral. 

Sorry for blabbing emoticon All I want to say is Best Wishes to you emoticon 
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Brandon Dayton, modified 18 Days ago.

RE: 7 Day Retreat at MAPLE (Monastic Academy)

Posts: 451 Join Date: 9/24/19 Recent Posts
That's a very comforting thought. I sometimes need to remember that all awakened beings are human.

If that is what you call blabbing then blabb on sir!

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